[STICKERS, Franciscus]


Leuven: n.p.. 1670.

A manuscript book containing detailed and extensive notes on a wide range of scientific subjects. 200x155mm. 494 leaves. 34 engraved plates. Text in Latin. The chapter headings are beautifully calligraphed and there are some attractive little drawings in the margins. Bound in contemporary full calf, upper and lower covers with a single fillet border in blind framing a blind triple fillet which then frames a lavishly tooled border with interwoven semicircles and floral motifs in blind. At the centre of each cover is a gilt supralibros with two men, one holding an armillary sphere and the other a pair of compasses. Above them are stars and between them a cartouche inside which is a triple-towered castle surmounted by a crown (this motif is repeated in the compartments of the spine save for the second which has a black morocco label lettered in gilt "Physica"). Beneath this is a shield with a hand holding a book and reaching down through the clouds. This is the coat of arms of the Old University of Leuven. The figures with the armillary sphere and compass are clearly a reference to Mercator, the maker of globes, spheres and other scientific instruments as well as being the finest map maker of his time. On the upper cover is stamped in gilt "Franciscus Stickers" and on the lower, "Bredanus Anno 1670". One of the preliminary blank leaves has the ownership inscription "Franciscus Stickers". Stickers was from a family in Breda in the Netherlands. Born in 1649, he would have been a student in 1670 (at Leuven, hence the university's coat of arms). In 1674, Stickers is recorded as being a lawyer in Breda and marrying Josina Maria van Beeck. He died in 1700, clearly a figure of some substance as the frontispiece engraving of this book has the inscription (dated 1813) "Ex Libris Nob. Dni Franciscii Stickers adeptus est J.A.Cornelissen". Some rubbing to extremities, joints a little cracked. Recent minor repairs to spine. Leather ties. A little damp-staining and some toning to edges but overall in very good condition throughout.
This significant manuscript book running to almost 1000 pages, provides a valuable and fascinating insight into the teaching of science in the oldest university in the Netherlands in the latter part of the seventeenth century. Stickers' notes begin with the title "De Physica et Obiecto eius" and proceed to a detailed investigation into the nature and types of causality. "Libri de Anima" (Books concerning the soul) contains notes on "Life and Death" and "the circulation of the blood". There are various sections dealing with the senses (smell is accompanied by a hand-drawn bunch of flowers), expanded to included notes on related matters such as sleep, tiredness and freedom. Later on in the book, a discussion of the senses takes a more explicitly scientific path with a section on the eye (with a diagram and the initial "O" of "Oculo" framing a hand-drawn eye) and notes on colour and light. Some subjects are dealt with more than once suggesting a developing programme of study appropriate to university education. Significantly, there are two sections headed "Tractatus de Sphera", the second illustrated with an armillary sphere, engraved by Michael Haye. The notes in these chapters develop into detailed study of planetary motion, astronomy, the stars, lunar science, eclipses of the sun and moon and the zodiac. The astronomical systems of Ptolemy, Copernicus and Tycho Brahe are covered and there is a section on comets with a later note (also in Stickers' hand) recording how "vidi" (I saw) the Great Comet of 1680 (Kirch's or Newton's Comet) and accompanied by a drawing of the phenomenon. There are notes on forms of mutation and change dealing with corruption, putrefaction and mixture. Taken all together, these notes, legibly although minutely written, offer a rare chance to study early modern scientific education through the eyes of a clearly talented student at a university with a link to the one of the great scientists of the previous century. An additional attraction are the decorative calligraphy, the handful of marginal drawings, and the illustrations including engravings of the senses by David Teniers the Younger, scientific diagrams (particularly relating to the sections on astronomy). Some of these engravings may have been produced for insertion into books of lecture notes such as this and a number are rather amusing: opposite the notes titled "De Fortuna" is an image of a hand reaching out the sky and casting dice on a table, and with the notes "De Nutritione" is a print of a flock of sheep nibbling on leaves. It is nice to find the occasional light touch in a work of such serious and extensive learning.

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